Patriotic Wreaths and Candles

As you know we have been working on decorations for our Fourth of July Barbeque. I need to extend an apology to all my readers who are not Americans--I know this may be getting boring for you. I'm hoping you can take some of these ideas and use them for your own parties with changes. This week we took some empty jars and Mod Podged some tissue paper on them. 

Hazel did one with squares of red, white and blue tissue paper (I added some sparkly ribbons to the top and bottom), and I helped her with one to look like fireworks. My idea was to have many colors on the underneath layer, but she only wanted to use pink. We did not have a navy or black piece of large tissue paper so I cut a firework design out of purple and Mod Podged it over hers. Then I added some glitter glue after it all dried.

I made a navy one with a white star. I covered the jar in white and then combined the purple and turquoise to make a navyish color and cut out stars and Mod Podged them over. I outlined the star with glitter glue. Then I covered a jar with white and added stripes of red sparkly ribbon. This was actually my second attempt. My first attempt of the red and white striped (with a bit of blue starred scrapbook paper) did not turn out as planned. Then I thought of the ribbons.
My first attempt
Then I spent Friday afternoon working on a couple of wreaths. You may remember the spring wreath I made for us and the red, white and blue one I made for friends. I'm going to make some red, white and blue pinwheels tonight to change ours over. 

In addition to that, I made one starting with a straw wreath. I hot glued red, white and blue silk flowers to it. (I bought all of the flowers on sale/clearance or at The Dollar Tree). Then I added some ribbon going across the center and hung some sparkly stars in the center. This is on our front door now.

For the next wreath, I started with a flat wreath made of cardboard or that other type of board. I can't think of the name of it right now. I wrapped some patriotic ribbon around it. I bought two rolls of the ribbon on sale at Michaels this week. Each roll had three yards and I needed the second roll. Then I wrapped some metallic star garland around it. It filled it in nicely. Since we have four doors I can decorate (three off the patio and our front door) I may make another one as well. I still have another straw wreath to work with. I'm thinking of just wrapping the "Let Freedom Ring" ribbon around it and tying a bow.

This is where I share...

Sharing Saturday #26

In case you have been wondering, my co-host, Mia over at Mama Mia's Heart2Heart is taking a little break from blogging, so that is why you have not been seeing her participating in our Sharing Saturday. 

Mermaid Bedroom

Note: Sharing Saturday will be up and running at 9 p.m. EDT!
July 1st is the last day to enter Taming the Goblin's The Mermaid Project. I had one more idea floating around my head, but didn't think I would get to it. However, I found a mermaid at The Dollar Tree (I let Hazel chose one), so I was able to do this quickly since it did not involve making a mermaid. Hazel and I had painted this gallon milk container awhile ago with hopes of making it into a house for someone. When I saw it again, I thought it was the perfect colors for a mermaid.
All I did was put a large shell in it and a couple of small ones to be a bed and bedside table. Then I added the mermaid. Then I cut out some seaweed blankets out of different shades of green felt.
Since we had the felt and shells and the recycled milk container and paint this new toy cost all of $1! Not too bad for something for Hazel to play with.
View with no seaweed blankets
What do you think?

I will be entering this in Taming the Goblin's The Mermaid Project.

Salad Spinner Firework Art

This morning we had the best time making firework paintings. I found on Pinterest Mom's Crafty Space: Salad Spinner "Fireworks" Tutorial. I figured I had an old salad spinner that leaked and Hazel loves using it, so why not. We added water to her red and blue paints including her red sparkle paint. We also added our own touch with some glitter at the end.
 I gave her old medicine syringes to add drops of color. She had two different shades of blue and red and we did them on paper plates. She dropped the colors on the plate in the spinner. One red was almost empty so we just added water to the bottle and used the squeezer. It got a little more liquidy than the others.
Then she spun it. She loves this.
Then she loved pushing the stop button and checking how it looked.
Then we added glitter. Another favorite activity for Hazel.
We made large plates and small plates. I took all the small plates and added letters/words to say "Happy 4th of July!" Punched a hole in them and made a banner for the mantle. The large plates I am thinking of putting "Freedom" on and hanging them on our outside stairs for our barbeque.
After spin art we tried marble painting. We tried it on plates, but didn't totally like it. You can see the small plate above with "of" on it. We tried it on white paper.
Then we did some handprint fireworks. Hazel did not quite get the idea of them, but we had fun. We added glitter to make it a little more realistic.

We have some more ideas for painting fireworks, but they will have to wait for another day.

This is where I share...

Friendship, Readathon, Book Clubs and More

Today I thought I would share a bit about friendship. It is the theme of the Readathon 2012 Week 2. Did you know that 1256 readers have signed up so they have donated over 1256 meals to hungry kids via (If you want to join just click on the Readathon 2012 button above and for each reader that joins a meal is donated!) For more information and some links to different friendship crafts and activities go to MeMeTales.

Fourth of July Decorations

Traditionally Steve and I have invited a few friends over for the Fourth of July. We do not usually bother with fireworks or dealing with the crowds. (Although many of our neighbors put on their own shows which are sometimes even better than the professional ones.) Now that we have Hazel we tend to invite friends with young children. Hazel and I start preparations for the barbeque by making decorations. (To see a few of our ideas from last year click here.) Last year Hazel was very afraid of the wind after our Father's Day painting incident. We actually had to move the party inside because she threw a fit about our decorations being outside and being afraid they would blow away in the wind. This year I'm thinking about more heavy decorations.

I bought a navy frame at Michaels on clearance and found some red and white striped scrapbook paper there as well. I cut the scrapbook paper to be part of the United States flag and mod podged it on. Then we put stickers on the navy part that was still showing and we added a USA sticker to the stripes. Then we framed this great printable I got from Lolly Jane. It is in the image of the United States flag but has the names of  the states in alphabetical order for the stripes. She has free printables in different color combinations. When I saw it I knew I wanted to do a project like this. We will use it as a decoration and then Hazel wants it in her bedroom.
Then we also made some holders for our plasticware. We used some frozen juice containers. (They were Welch's brand and made of plastic.) First I covered each one with white paper since the purple from the grape juice label (which was not removable) was so dark. I just Mod Podged the paper on.
Then I cut scrapbook paper to fit around each one. I did one in the red and white strip and one in navy with white stars. After coating them with Mod Podge I left them to dry over night. We added sparkly ribbons today and stickers to one. I like how they came out.
We have some more decorations in the works. Stay tuned. Do you have plans for the Fourth?

Oh, and a great activity for the kids for the Fourth. Squidoo has free patriotic clip art images including an American flag to color in. Stay tuned for more ideas for things for the kids as well. I have many in my mind and pinned.

This is where I share...

Happy Family Times #14--Riding a bike

Hazel has been asking for a new bike. Her hand-me-down tricycle doesn't really work quite right. She often somehow turns the handle bar so she cannot steer correctly. Well we started pricing out new bikes. First I went to an expensive bike store at Cape Cod to ask experts about what size she would need, etc. Since the bike there was almost $200 we did not buy it there. We checked some local stores when we got home and we found one at KMart. Since the price was reasonable and they only had one left of the one she really wanted, I bought it for her on Thursday. I was planning on putting it together for her on Friday, but my sister needed my help so I was in Connecticut for the day helping her. Steve go the bike together on Saturday. We took her out to ride it on Saturday and Sunday. She is so excited about it, but has not quite gotten the hang of it.

We still have to push her every once in awhile to get her going. I think she keeps moving her feet slightly backwards which of course operates the brakes. Then she gets stuck.
Don't you love her helmet. I thought it was the cutest thing. She somehow agreed to it over the Disney Princesses.

She is definitely starting to get it, but needs more practice with one of us there to help her get started. I think this is how I will be spending my week at least when the weather is nice.

Now it is your turn to share how your family has spent some quality time lately.

~ please link up (family time oriented giveaways are ok, but please no Etsy shops)
~just crafts will be deleted since this is to share family times ~ use our button so others can join the fun


Button Code:

~ we'd love for you to follow us Crafty Moms Share and Happy Whimsical Hearts
~ check out our Happy Family Times Pinterest board where we will be pinning some of our favorite ideas

Ok, now for our PARTY!! Please share your FUN Family Times!!

Multicultural Monday: Chopsticks

This week I thought I would share a book that helps introduce chopsticks to a young child. The book really has no reference to the cultures that use chopsticks or how to use them, but it is fun and Hazel has enjoyed hearing it. I think reading it and then talking about chopsticks helps learn how others eat. My plan is to pull out some chopsticks and have her try to pick things up with them. We have not gotten to that part yet or to trying any crafts. So this post will be more about information and links I have found to share.

Now your first question may be who am I to talk about chopsticks? That is a good question. In high school I had good friends who are Cambodian, Vietnamese and Chinese. I went to several of one of the friends' siblings weddings where you often did not get a fork or spoon until the fourth or fifth course so your only option was to eat with chopsticks. This is how I learned to use them. Then in graduate school my roommates were a woman from China and a woman from Japan. (I have to say they were the best roommates I ever had!!) Our apartment had both Chinese and Japanese chopsticks as well as American utensils. We use to joke that I used the chopsticks more than either of them. Do you know the difference between Chinese and Japanese chopsticks? The Japanese ones are more pointed and usually shorter where as the Chinese tend to be more square on top.
Japanese Chopsticks
Chinese Chopsticks
 I am not sure which type Korean, Cambodians, etc. use, but do know these are the differences between them. However Wikipedia does go into details about the difference for each culture. Korean Chopsticks are medium length and have a small flat rectangular shape and are traditionally made out of brass or silver. Vietnamese and Tibetan are similar to the Chinese Chopsticks. Nepali Chopsticks are shorter and more blunt and usually made of bamboo. (Source: Wikipedia)

Wikipedia also provides a detailed history. However for a more concise history, gives a summary. Chopsticks are believed to have been used for 5,000 years and started in China. They were first used when fuel was scarce so the Chinese cut food into smaller pieces so it would cook faster and the bite size pieces gave no need for a knife at the table. Around 500 A.D. chopsticks spread to other Asian countries. In Japan they were first used only in religious ceremonies. (Source:

How to eat with chopsticks. There are many tutorials on-line including YouTube if you want to see a video. For written ones check out:

First let me tell you about the picture book we found: Chopsticks by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. The book is about a pair of chopsticks who are "practically joined at the hip" until one day one of them breaks and while on the mend he insists his partner go out on his own and explore the world. Then the uninjured one discovers uses for himself as a single then they do things together and singly afterwards. It is cute but does not really go into details about chopsticks or what they are used for, how to use them, etc. It is a good book for children who have never really seen chopsticks to be exposed to them.

For a lesson on cultures and chopstick etiquette check out this great lesson plan from Asian Cultures Museum. It includes how to use chopsticks at the end as well as the dos and the don'ts in each culture. One thing I know, is if you are going to eat rice with chopsticks you need a rice bowl and need to hold it near your mouth. You also need to be sure you are eating what I call sticky rice and not the rice that is common in the US.

There are many ideas of crafts and activities with chopsticks. I think the most popular is to make hair chopsticks. Family Fun has a great picture and craft tutorial on this. Another popular one is to use them as knitting needles. I imagine the Japanese style would be best for this. Apples4theteacher shows an easy frame to make (and provides a link to Oriental Trader for the kits, but they look easy enough to do without the kit). eHow has a New Delhi Arts and Crafts of making a kite using chopsticks. Activity Village has the Chopsticks Game that seems a bit like a relay race using chopsticks to move objects from one bowl to another. TLC Home offers five reuses for chopsticks including to make garden stakes, pick-up-sticks game and for crafting like this life-size canoe by Shuhei Ogawara. At North Shore Pediatric Therapy they have a page of activities to do with chopsticks including the Chopstick Game and more and give the benefits of using them. Finally FaeMom has some great Chinese crafts including decorating chopsticks that she used to celebrate the Chinese New Year.

Well I hope this gives you some ideas of introducing chopsticks to your young one(s). I know I will be pulling some out to have Hazel practice with them and maybe we will try to make a frame or a kite. Plus we will definitely be getting some Chinese food in the future and maybe I can get her to eat it with chopsticks with me. I will also introduce her to my wok and have her help me with a stir fry. Stay tuned for more experiences with this one! I will add pictures with any of the activities we do try. Enjoy!!

Additional Note: Today we used the chopsticks to move goldfish from one bowl to another. She loved doing it and was pretty good at it.
Then she started to make letters: X, L,  and T. Then she wanted to break the etiquette rules and use them as drum sticks.

This is where I share...

Banana & Oatmeal Scones

Once again we had some overripe bananas to use. I went looking for a new recipe to try and came up with this one for Banana and Oatmeal Scones at For the most part we stuck to this recipe with a few additions after reading the comments.

First mix two cups whole wheat flour, 1/4 cup of ground almond meal, 1/4 cup (slightly less) sugar, one tablespoon baking powder, one teaspoon cream of tartar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, one teaspoon cinnamon, and one and a quarter cups of old-fashioned oatmeal. Hazel did most of the measuring (but she didn't want to be the banana masher this time so I did it).

Second blend 2 mashed bananas, 1/2 cup of melted butter, and 1/3 cup of milk (we used fat free).

Then add in dry ingredients and 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts. In the end I used my hands to mix this a bit. It was very dry and I would add liquid next time--either another banana and/or some more milk. 

Turn out onto a floured surface and cut in half. Form each half into a 7 to 8 inch circle. Cut each into eight wedges and place on sprayed baking sheet.

Bake at 425 for about 10 minutes until golden brown. Let cool and then enjoy. We enjoyed them with some strawberry jam!
This is where I share...